Dec 8, 2008

Pedal Luring

A recent study has revealed that at least eight families of toads engage in an amphibian variant of the 'come hither' motion. But instead of the seductive curled finger, these toads waggle or thump their toes in a bid for a meal. This is called pedal luring, a technique I hope to master.

Case in point: the cane toad (yet again). Researchers found that when young cane toads stumbled across an adult cane toad, the adult would waggle its large toes on its hind feet. The young toad(s) would approach to investigate, and would then be gobbled up by its cannibalistic elder. Pedal luring at its purest. One study of a captive colony of cane toads showed that a full 64% of the meals had by adult toads consisted of their younger counterparts. I guess cane toads aren't toxic to one another.

These fowler's toads (below) are not to be outdone. They actually thump their toes when they suspect insects and other invertebrates are near. Though nothing is conclusive, it appears that the rhythmic thumping causes the inverts to wriggle and scatter, allowing the toad to better snatch them up.

I'm going to go home and see if drumming my fingers on the dinner table causes the dinner to arrive earlier. I'll let you know how my wife responds to that.

Thanks for the article, Judy.


Denita TwoDragons said...

Oh, that your wife will respond quickly to your finger-drumming is a certainty. How quickly your fingers will heal afterwards is another story!


Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! I was going to say the same thing, Denita! If he still has fingers left... bwahaha!

I don't know why, but toads are just as cute as lizards in my book. Love the top picture. It must suck to be a baby toad though. =(

Unknown said...

There are worm-charming contests where (human) competitors thump rhythmically on the ground to make worms wiggle to the surface, so I guess toadal pedal luring works on the same principle.

Or hell, 'pedal luring' is a great phrase.

Denita TwoDragons said...

If they stomp hard enough, they'll lure a Sandworm. Heh.


Vanessa said...

I watch my Jasmine, an American Toad, do it when I give her dinner. It's adorable!
There is a great video of it on the same page that the pictures are from here:
When I click on the link you give to the 'recent study' I am getting an error, so maybe it is the same page as the above.

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks. I just fixed the link.

Milton Segura said...

How did she respond?

Raging Wombat said...